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Talebearers, Peddlers, Spies, and Converts: The Adventures of the Biblical and Post-Biblical Roots רגל and רכל

Talebearers, Peddlers, Spies, and Converts: The Adventures of the Biblical and Post-Biblical... Abstract: The first part of the article scrutinizes the exact meaning of the biblical and post-biblical words derived from the roots רגל and רכל (including Ben Sira) and how they were interpreted by the ancient versions and old sources. The biblical verb רגל is a denominative, meaning "to spy." וירגל בעבדך אל-אדני (2 Sam 19:28) does not fit this interpretation. According to the context (see 2 Sam 16:1-6), it is suggested that the verb here should be וידגל. The root דגל is common in Syriac, where it means 'cheat,' 'lie'; it appears with the same meaning in the Hebrew of the Midrash. Similarly, in Ps 15:3 we should probably read לא-דגל על-לשנו (cf. 15:2c). The second part of the article deals with the well-known story of the gentile who asked first Shammai and then Hillel to convert him to Judaism, on condition that they teach him the whole Torah על רגל אחד (usually translated: "(While I am standing) on one leg"; b. Shabb. 31b). The suggestion has been made that here רגל represents the Latin regula 'rule'; that is, one main idea or law on which the Torah is based. Hillel offered such "rule," whereas Shammai repulsed the Gentile with his builder's rule. The mishnaic words הרגל and רגיל, as well as the verb הרגיל all of them denoting 'habit,' 'custom,' etc., are probably derived from the new Latin-Hebrew word רגל/regula rather than from the old Hebrew word רגל 'foot.' http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hebrew Studies National Association of Professors of Hebrew

Talebearers, Peddlers, Spies, and Converts: The Adventures of the Biblical and Post-Biblical Roots רגל and רכל

Hebrew Studies , Volume 46 (1) – Oct 5, 2005

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Publisher
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
Copyright
Copyright © National Association of Professors of Hebrew
ISSN
2158-1681
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Abstract

Abstract: The first part of the article scrutinizes the exact meaning of the biblical and post-biblical words derived from the roots רגל and רכל (including Ben Sira) and how they were interpreted by the ancient versions and old sources. The biblical verb רגל is a denominative, meaning "to spy." וירגל בעבדך אל-אדני (2 Sam 19:28) does not fit this interpretation. According to the context (see 2 Sam 16:1-6), it is suggested that the verb here should be וידגל. The root דגל is common in Syriac, where it means 'cheat,' 'lie'; it appears with the same meaning in the Hebrew of the Midrash. Similarly, in Ps 15:3 we should probably read לא-דגל על-לשנו (cf. 15:2c). The second part of the article deals with the well-known story of the gentile who asked first Shammai and then Hillel to convert him to Judaism, on condition that they teach him the whole Torah על רגל אחד (usually translated: "(While I am standing) on one leg"; b. Shabb. 31b). The suggestion has been made that here רגל represents the Latin regula 'rule'; that is, one main idea or law on which the Torah is based. Hillel offered such "rule," whereas Shammai repulsed the Gentile with his builder's rule. The mishnaic words הרגל and רגיל, as well as the verb הרגיל all of them denoting 'habit,' 'custom,' etc., are probably derived from the new Latin-Hebrew word רגל/regula rather than from the old Hebrew word רגל 'foot.'

Journal

Hebrew StudiesNational Association of Professors of Hebrew

Published: Oct 5, 2005

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